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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday lodged 19th case in its coal blocks allocation scam probe against a Mumbai-based private firm, which was earlier based in Nagpur under a different name, for cheating and criminal conspiracy.
It also emerged that former coal secretary PC Parakh told the agency PM Manmohan Singh had allegedly approved the allocation of Odisha’s Talabira-2 coal block to private firm Hindalco.
Parakh, who was examined twice by the CBI last week, claimed that the PM, in his capacity as then coal minister, had approved the allocation of Talabira-2 jointly to public sector firm Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) and Hindalco, a CBI source said.
According to Parakh, since the screening committee had found both Hindalco and NLC eligible, there was no need to go back to it before submitting his revised recommendations to the PM, said the source.
Parakh told HT, “The PM, in his capacity as then coal minister, had approved the allocation of Talabira-2 jointly to NLC and Hindalco.”
In its FIR filed in October 2013 against Parakh, Hindalco and Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, the agency had allegedly allowed Hindalco to share the coalfield at the expense of NLC thereby modifying the screening committee’s original recommendation.
The 19TH FIR
In its 19th FIR pertaining to the allocation of Marki Mangli coal blocks-2, 3 and 4 in Maharashtra in 2005, the CBI alleged that these had been allocated to Nagpur-based Shree Virangana Steel Ltd but its original owners had disposed the equity to Mumbai-based Topworth Urja and Metals Limited.
“The accused Mumbai firm irregularly and purposefully entered into mining lease deeds in the name of the Nagpur-based firm, which no longer existed,” said the source.
The FIR also accused the Mumbai firm of allegedly resorting to excessive mining.